By Amanda Cuda
Source: CT Post
Can banning electronic cigarettes cause more teens to use conventional cigarettes? A new study by the Yale School of Public Health says yes.
Using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the researchers found that state bans on e-cigarette sales to minors yielded a statistically significant 0.9 percentage point increase in rates of recent conventional cigarette use by 12- to 17-year-olds compared to states without these bans. More than 40 states have banned the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, including Connecticut.
E-cigarettes, which entered the U.S. market in 2007, generally cost less per use than conventional cigarettes, are perceived to be safer, and offer a wide variety of flavors, making the product particularly popular among youths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates of e-cigarette use by middle- and high-school students tripled between 2013 and 2014.
Based on Friedman’s findings and the fact that habitual use of conventional cigarettes first spikes at age 16, study researchers suggest that bans on e-cigarette sales may be more effective in reducing teenage smoking if they were limited to those under 16 rather than those under 18. This middle-ground solution may provide a way to reduce teen smoking while the long-term effects of vaping, still largely unknown, are being determined, the paper suggests.